Billboard Bits: Waylon Jennings, Napster, The Living End

News on Waylon Jennings, Napster, The Living End

WaylonA special event honoring the late country icon Waylon Jennings will be held March 23 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Limited public seating will be available in the venue's balcony. No other details have yet been confirmed for the tribute, of which Jennings' wife Jessi Colter said, "I know how very much people loved Waylon and want to pay their final respects."

Jennings died Feb. 13 at his home in Arizona of diabetes-related complications. He was 64. The artist was buried last Friday after a private funeral service in Mesa, Ariz.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

NapsterFollowing Sunday's expiration of a "stay" in the legal battle between the record industry and Napster, the case appears to be headed back to court. Last month, at the request of the file-sharing service and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel granted a 30-day stay in hopes that the parties could reach a settlement.

"Given the current state of settlement negotiations, it didn't make sense for the record companies to agree to Napster's request to keep the litigation on hold," says RIAA general counsel Cary Sherman. In a statement, Napster CEO Konrad Hilbers says he remains "confident that agreements can be reached in the near term."

Napster remains committed to launching a legal subscription service, but the target date for launch has been moved back countless times since last summer. The company is currently beta testing its new software, which it says "is almost ready for prime time."

-- Erik Gruenwedel, L.A.

Living EndAustralian rock act the Living End has parted ways with drummer Travis Demsey, who had been with the band since May 1996. "It's more an agreement than a split," says singer/guitarist Chris Cheney. "Since my car accident last September we've re-evaluated ourselves as human beings. We still regard Travis as a brilliant drummer but he's probably realized we're on different pages and that he's not the right drummer for this band. We respect his decision to leave and wish him the best."

The split comes just as the band hits the studio with producer Jerry Finn, who has worked with Rancid, Green Day, and Blink-182, and mixed the Living End's 1998 self-titled debut album. That set and last year's "Roll On" (Reprise) have sold 1 million units worldwide.

The band has been on a lengthy layoff from road since last September, when Cheney and his girlfriend were involved in a car crash which left him with a broken leg. Because of the injury, the Living End had to abandon plans to join the Vans Warped tour through Australia in March and April.

-- Christie Eliezer, Melbourne


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